I was talking with one of my women students from our Krav Maga class last night and she voiced to me that she did not feel strong enough to get the larger male students off of her during our ground fighting sessions. I immediately thought about the reaction of her training partner if she suddenly punched him in the groin or attacked his eyes. This is the problem with training, push too hard and you lose students to both injury and attrition (The attrition rate is directly proportional to contact level, the higher the contact, the higher the attrition). Look at the SEAL’s. Their training is recognized as the toughest in the military world. 75% to 80% attrition is the norm. Only 20% make it through to become a SEAL team member. What does that say to me as a Self Defense instructor? It is not acceptable to me that only a few people should be able to protect themselves. That only the biggest or the most violent people get to make all the rules or take what they want. So we use pads and gloves and training scenarios to get as realistic as we can.
So getting back to my student’s problem. “You didn’t put a thumb in his eye”, was my response. An attacker has the mentality that you are a victim and they expect you to act as one. You must fight back immediately and viciously. Immediately because they have the advantage of strength and surprise, and if you are vicious in your response you can stun your attacker with your own surprise, they picked the ‘wrong’ person! The answer to this problem is to train in such a way that I cultivate a reaction that will take him off guard and allow yourself time to get away or the surprise which passes the advantage to you.
If you ask any military personnel who serves in the infantry, “What should you do in in case of an ambush?”, the answer will be, attack in the direction of the ambush. This aggression has saved the lives of many military service members who by all rights should have been dead. This philosophy has worked for platoons in the mountains of Afghanistan or the jungles of Viet Nam. It will also works for the nurse getting into her car after a hard days work or the business man late for the next appointment. One of the things we train in Krav Maga is our aggression. Everyone falls somewhere within the spectrum of being so passive that they are a walking victim or at the opposite end, needing anger management classes. Our job is to be able to identify where our students fall in this spectrum and train them to be able to turn that aggression switch on and off when the situation dictates. The quicker you turn the tables on an attacker, the more likely you are to get out unscathed. There is only one real goal in a fight, to not be hurt. Everything else is secondary.
Sometimes stating the obvious is necessary because what is so obvious to one person is not so much to the next one. So here goes, use your hardened weapons against his weak or soft spots. Weapons such as: fists, knees, elbows, heel, and teeth are weapons that we all have. We need to not only practice using them, we have to give ourselves permission to do so when threatened with violence.
With that being said, what good are weapons if there is no use for them. There are places on an attackers body which can not be protected or strengthened no matter how much they benchpress. These are the places that we should target. Places like: eyes, nose, throat, groin, knees, fingers and toes. Attack these weak areas with our strong weapons and a bigger adversary can be overcome.
I have a friend from High School who recently told me of an attempted rape soon upon her high school graduation. She was taken in a car and things went really bad, She fought the guy off but at the cost of many bruises and a couple of place where her hair was pulled out. The deal is she FOUGHT! These situations are mostly uninvited and always unfair. They tend to be a surprise. The opponent is always bigger and sometimes come in pairs. They can even use weapons, but we can, with training and the right mind set prevail and make what is unfair into a victory. Maybe you should consider taking a self defense course like Krav Maga. Walk in peace.
Master Michael Brown is a seventh degree black belt in Taekwondo and a certified instructor in Krav Maga. He is a two time world champion in sparring and a former Captain in the United States Marine Corps. Master Brown has been working with families and training people in personal defense in North Carolina for 25 years. He and his wife, Master Kimberly Brown love working with military personnel, law enforcement and civilians to become combat ready and helping them develop skills that will enable them to be the ‘First Responders’ for their families.